Whether she’s going viral for doing the robot while strapped to a breast pump or sharing photos of her and her almost-2-year-old daughter Ayv, chef, food blogger, and TV personality (you can catch her North of the border on “Top Chef Canada”) Eden Grinshpan is definitely not one to keep up glossy appearances of motherhood. It’s clear from her unabashedly silly posts that she has found a happy medium between herself as a person and as a mom.
Food is understandably a very big factor in their household. As a certified fabulous foodie herself, Grinshpan, a Brooklyn mama, was excited to start introducing solid foods to her daughter’s diet so they could bond over bites. Though she tries to widen Ayv’s palette as much as she can, it’s not always easy.
“The older she gets, the more she knows, the pickier she gets,” Grinshpan says. “It’s been a little bit of a battle.” With all of the healthy food options available to families now, like Grinshpan’s recently opened restaurant DEZ (where she is the co-owner and executive chef) it’s especially easy to get hung up on strict vegetable-based diets. So, how does one balance her little one’s meals? Moderation is key.
“[My daughter] likes sugar, she likes sweet things. She gets a lot of fruit, she loves fruit… But, you know, she gets a little junk,” Grinshpan says. “I had to let go a little bit because I was a little controlling over everything being healthy, but I’m very much a believer of trying to keep it 75-80 percent healthy, and the rest you can kind of be easy.”
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Grinshpan’s love for cooking first began when she started watching the Food Network as a sophomore in high school. She recalls being “obsessed” with Food Network stars Ina Garten, Nigella Watson, and Jamie Oliver. When it came time to decide where she should go to college, culinary school was “the only thing that really made sense.”
Thus began the start of her culinary career, or what she likes to call her “love affair with food and cooking.” She enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu in London where she graduated with a grande diplome in pastry and cuisine. Rather than looking for work, Grinshpan, whose heritage is Canadian and Israeli, sought to see the world. “A lot of people are afraid of being uncomfortable or not close to what they know, but honestly I’ve never grown more than when I was away. I really, truly believe my time abroad was my education,” she says. Grinshpan then went on to backpack through India and Southeast Asia, and lived in London for two years. Even at the time of our interview, they had just returned from a family trip to Israel. How have their travels changed now that Ayv’s joined the family? Parents are often afraid of taking long flights with their children, but Grinshpan feels the benefits outweigh the cons.
“For me, it’s kind of like ripping off a Band-Aid. You do it, you get it over with, and you get to have an experience,” she explains. “To be able to take Ayv to Israel and to eat the food that I grew up eating, and to see the places, that mean so much to me.”
These travels, as well as Grinsphan’s own Israeli roots, are what inspired her the vibe for her restaurant, DEZ (short for “desert”), a fast-casual Middle Eastern eatery located in the heart of Nolita. Co-founded with Samantha Wasser, (who is known in the food world for the NYC vegan restaurant by CHLOE) DEZ’s fresh and tasty meals are ideal for everyday dining with a twist.
As we caught up over the phone, there was a small cry in the background. Grinshpan laughs. “She’s here,” she says, referencing her young daughter. “She was supposed to go down an hour ago, but guess what? She’s watching ‘Peppa Pig!’” Whether she’s sharing candid photos of her breastfeeding in the back of a car (#NormalizeBreastFeeding), or her hilarious take on the traditional maternity shoot (a tower of gourmet doughnuts were involved), Grinshpan is definitely honest about the realities of being a parent.
“Yeah, [my husband and I] get flustered sometimes, but in the end, we just laugh about it because it’s just so ridiculous,” she says. “The things we get flustered about in the grand scheme of things, they’re nothing.”
To learn more about Eden Grinshpan, visit edeneats.com!